Co-Owners and the Right to Sell
Who can force the sale of real estate?
Real estate ownership usually starts off with feelings of excitement, balanced with a healthy dose of nerves. There’s hope for a bright future and years of enjoyment of the property, but also the responsibility of having to pay all of the bills associated with it. You might own a home or an investment property with a spouse, friend, parent, other relative or a business partner as joint tenants or as tenants in common.
As time goes on, relationships, goals, and circumstances can change. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships can sour, and owning the property jointly is no longer practical. Other times, one of the co-owners might want to sell to realize on their interest in the equity in the property, while the other does not. So, what recourse do you have?
Whether the property is owned as joint tenancy or as tenants in common, each party has the right to sell it. If one co-owner wants to depart from ownership, and the other co-owner cannot buy out the other’s interest in the property – because they do not qualify for refinancing or they simply do not want to take on more debt – and they will not agree to list the property for sale, it does not end there. You have options. In Ontario, under the Partition and Sale Act, an owner of a property has a statutory right to seek an order from the court to force the sale of the property. The party seeking the sale of the property needs to initiate a court proceeding, commencing with issuing and serving an Application before the Superior Court of Justice, seeking an Order for the Partition and Sale of the property, and other appropriate orders under their circumstance.
Defending these types of Applications can be difficult because essentially forcing someone to remain an owner of a property can be prejudicial and can cause undue hardship. Nevertheless, there are limited defences that can be pled to stave off an order for the Partition and Sale but the chances of success will be determined by the facts of your case.
Whichever side of the dispute you are on, Geraldine Acosta has vast experience in dealing with Partition and Sale Applications.
Book your free 30-minute consultation with Geraldine at 905-448-1105. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.